Rounding out a year of planning development for original content for their Instant Video platform, online retail giant Amazon have revealed six names that will compete to earn commissions to full series on the streaming service, with plans to allow each of them to create one pilot episode that will be brought before focus groups for audience experimentation.
The process will see the 6 series in the comedy genre take on development of a pilot, with Amazon’s Amazon Studios division doing the rest by enabling consumer feedback before choosing the successful formats that will go to series, and while the content development could lead to all or none of the proposed series making it to ‘air’ through the process, the shows involved will still want to leave a good impression by getting a higher reception than their rivals on the shortlist.
Any successful comedy formats would join a total of over 25,000 movies and TV shows on Amazon Instant Video, only as a rare breed of ‘online originals’, though Amazon have announced their intention to capitalise on their new venture by offering all pilot episodes for free through their Instant Video website, as a way to get quantitative feedback and a chance to show potential customers what they are missing in terms of quality of service on the subscription platform.
The shows on the Amazon trial programming block right now are ‘intergalactic slackers’ cartoon comedy Dark Minions, diva cartoon Supernatural, The Onion-supported scripted comedy The Onion Presents: The News, ‘young teacher’ show Those Who Can’t, potential senator buddy comedy Alpha House (written by Garry Trudeau), and Manhattan musical comedy series Browsers.
Amazon Studios director Roy Price said of the current stage of development: “Since launching our original series development effort, we have received more than 2,000 series ideas from creators around the world with all different backgrounds, and we are extremely excited to begin production on our very first set of pilots. The six comedy pilots will begin production shortly, and once they are complete, we plan to post the pilots on Amazon Instant Video for feedback. We want Amazon customers to help us decide which original series we should produce.”
Alpha House writer Trudeau added of the opportunity: “Amazon has been so innovative and successful in so many realms, it’s impossible not to get excited about its new venture into online programming. We look forward to partnering with Amazon’s creative team, making a great show, and as the holidays approach, receiving free two-day shipping for the entire cast and crew.”
Having previously confirmed horror novel Seed to be receiving a movie adaptation from the studio (presumably for a ‘direct-to-streaming’ release), can Amazon make some genuine laughs with their comedy proposals and further establish their streaming platform as an respected broadcaster?